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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The Precarious Place of Labour Rights and Movements in Nigeria's Dual Economic and Political Transition, 1999-2005
Author:Okafor, Obiora ChineduISNI
Periodical:Journal of African Law
Geographic term:Nigeria
Subjects:economic policy
trade unions
civil and political rights
offences against human rights
political repression
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/27607979
Abstract:Caught between pressure from dominant global economic actors (such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank (WB), and certain States) to implement painful socioeconomic reform measures, and pressure from significant numbers of their own peoples to reject these IMF/WB-style prescriptions, formally democratic 'Third World' governments often yield to the demands of the former to push through such reforms, sometimes at great social cost. This article utilizes a case study from Nigeria to illustrate this point. It considers the two key economic reform policies that were implemented by the quasi-democratic Obasanjo regime (sharp fuel price hikes and the down-sizing of the public sector), the nature of the labour-led mass resistance to these economic reform policies, and the character of the intensified State repression that was visited on the labour movement-led coalition that formed the vanguard of the popular resistance to these policies. It shows how the curtailment of labour rights and the weakening of labour movements have formed an important part of the economic strategy of many such governments. This anti-labour rights/movements strategy is an attempt by governments to deal with the human rights contradictions that are often generated when Third World countries attempt dual political and economic transitions. The article argues that the deployment of an anti-labour strategy is grounded in a new kind of 'full belly thesis' that prioritizes a particular IMF/WB-friendly vision of economic development over certain kinds of political (especially labour) rights. The powerful global economic actors, who would otherwise advocate the observance of all human rights, have nevertheless found this thesis more acceptable than its earlier iteration, which was grounded in a far less IMF/WB-friendly economic vision. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]